China signs a new gas deal with Turkmenistan; SCO anti-terror drills begin in Tajikistan; NATO concludes a reverse transport deal with Central Asian states; China pledges a US$10 billion aid to Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states; SCO su
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  • (JUNE 4-10)

    According to reports, China and Turkmenistan have agreed to increase Turkmen natural gas exports to China. China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), builder and operator of the lengthy east-west gas pipeline, said June 7, 2012 that it signed the deal with Turkmenistan’s state-run energy major Turkmengaz. The CNPC is slated to buy 65 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Turkmen gas per year. Earlier in the week, CNPC had said that the two companies had pumped a total of 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas from Turkmenistan since the transnational pipeline was inaugurated in 2009. Chinese imports surged three-fold in 2011 over the previous year. 1

    In another development, according to reports, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has launched anti-terror military exercises in Tajikistan. Much of the war games, dubbed ‘Peace Mission-2012’, will play out in the mountainous terrain of the tiny impoverished nation through June 14, 2012. Around 2,500 soldiers of five of the SCO’s six member states will participate in the drills. The exercises will utilize heavy armor and artillery as well as aircraft. 2

    Reports noted that NATO has signed transit agreements with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan to facilitate the removal of troops and military materiel out of Afghanistan. Unofficial sources have indicated that the deal is only for the transit of non lethal goods. 3

    China has pledged to provide up to $10 billion in credit to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member countries. China’s President Hu Jintao made that offer during a two-day SCO summit in Beijing. 4

    The Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states focused on security issues in Afghanistan and the region at the start of its two-day annual meeting in Beijing. During the summit Afghanistan joined the organization as an Observer state. 5

    Russian President Putin has said that in the future it is possible for Uzbekistan to join the customs union. 6

    Bangladesh has voiced its interest in joining the trans-regional TAPI natural gas pipeline project. The pipeline would transport natural gas 1,056 miles from the Dauletabad field in Turkmenistan to India, via Afghanistan and Pakistan. Bangladeshi government sources said that it would have to be lengthened by another 440 miles to link up with the country’s national gas network. 7

    Tajikistan has requested Iran to supply crude oil in order to meet its domestic requirements. It plans to convert the Iranian crude (which will be transported by rail via Afghanistan) into refined oil products at its own refineries. 8

    In other developments, according to reports, Leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) while meeting in Beijing have opposed any international use of force in Iran, saying such a move could threaten global security. All members have call for a dialogue to address these issues and have emphasized the potential role of the UN Security Council in restoring order in Syria. 9

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